A Visionary is by no means perfect. However, their proactive approach to planning for the future sets them apart.
Since starting the Meeting Company more than two decades ago, Scott’s experience is clearly an added value to his diverse roster of clients. From navigating through the tech crash at the start of the millennium, through the upheaval of 9/11, and now during the pandemic, Scott is skilled at adapting to change and providing solutions.
As he preps for what he believes will be an unprecedented season of events—even beyond rebooking and modifying existing meetings–Scott spared some time to share how he has been able to stay ahead of the game during this unprecedented nightmare the industry has collectively experienced.
JN: The importance of strategic partnerships and long-term relationships in our industry is key. What are some takeaways you have learned in the last year?
SY: I am a firm believer that good communication is the key to success in this industry. Honest and open communication ensures things are done correctly and delivers positive results. This is especially true in the event world where different entities interconnect to create a successful event. During the pandemic, amidst all the closures and lack of business, it might have been easier to shut down. We took a different approach – staying connected with clients and vendors was imperative to ensure smooth program transitions and bookings without losing details. It also allowed us to stay ahead of changes and pivot to meet the new challenges expected in the future of meetings and events. Collaboration is more important than ever as we begin to integrate more partners in our system to deliver information and results throughout the entire planning and strategic management process.
JN: Your PlanIT platform is designed to “help plan, track and document even the most complex meeting.” How has the platform been a resource to you and your clients during this time?
SY: From the start of the pandemic until now, our business has been all about changing dates and renegotiating contracts. PlanIT Platform has been a north star for us, to keep everyone on the same page with the information shared across our platform. Prior to the start of the pandemic, PlanIT Platform had begun to evolve, and we shifted our thinking in how the platform could be offered moving forward. The unexpected lockdown year allowed us to evolve beyond the original project scope. We expanded our focus to consider the needs of the entire industry.
When we completed the initial design and build of our platform in 2003 and started using it in production, it empowered us all to be successful by freeing us from minutia. The platform provided access to every bit of data and information on each meeting, so the team could be hands on no matter where we were. It was a good decision – we effectively streamlined the process of planning meetings using this highly-integrated, web-based environment. The RFP and hotel search processes were more straightforward, budgeting/planning/registration/transportation became simpler, and final closure of the program, including reporting and measurement was much less complicated. The platform saved extraordinary amounts of time and money for both The Meeting Company and our clients. It also turned out to be a roadmap to designing what we needed to do next.
During the pandemic, we all felt the catastrophic negative impact on our industry. There was a silver lining, however – the time to rethink and redesign what PlanIT Platform could be moving forward, and how it might benefit other planning organizations as we come out on the other side. Thanks to that gift of time, we are excited to launch the newly updated PlanIT Platform in early 2021.
JN: What was some advice you shared with your team or clients as you navigated this crisis?
SY: I love baseball. I know many people consider baseball to be boring and slow. However, I had the good fortune of coaching and mentoring little league players. I would often catch kids not paying attention. I ‘d tell them “baseball is the fastest slow game you will ever play”. In baseball, it takes a split second of not paying attention to have something go very wrong, and you need to be prepared to move quickly when necessary. This also applies to the meeting and event world. You need to be prepared to be agile and flexible, even when it appears nothing is happening. Everyone in the world has been impacted by this pandemic and the only constant is the need to adapt and change. Flexibility is the key to survival, now more than ever.
JN: Other key advice to share with meeting professionals and destinations alike?
SY: Think like you’re the customer. As the owners of the meeting, it is their money that is being spent and the customer has the right to expect their interests will be met whenever possible. Nobody sets out with the intention of making the process of planning a meeting difficult. However, to avoid the pitfalls a complex meeting planning process presents, it’s essential that all parties work toward the same common goal. Every meeting a customer holds is one part of a much larger goal for their organization. Do your part to help ensure the customers total meeting experience is a success. Each time we deliver on our part, their organization gets closer to its larger goal.